TT Epaper
The Telegraph
 
CIMA Gallary

Church boost for Modi

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan. 2: The head of a prominent Christian denomination in Kerala gave a thumbs-up to Narendra Modi yesterday, becoming the second Church leader in the state to laud the BJP prime ministerial candidate in a week.

Thomas Mar Timotheos, head of the Jacobite Syrian Church, told reporters after a meeting with BJP national secretary P.K. Krishnadas that followers of the Jacobite Church in Kerala or Gujarat did not have any problems with Modi.

“Followers of the Jacobite faction in Kerala do not have any problems with Modi. We also have believers in Gujarat. They too don’t have any difficulties with Modi. In fact, they applaud his developmental efforts,’’ the priest said.

Krishnadas told The Telegraph that he and a group of district BJP leaders had visited the headquarters of the Church in Kottayam district to attend a New Year event.

“After the event, we spoke to him (Timotheos) for a while. In the course of the conversation, he said that the country was passing through a very difficult stage and that the need of the hour was a stable government and a strong, non-corrupt leader.’’

A week earlier, the head of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church had praised Modi’s development programmes and indicated the BJP leader was welcome as Prime Minister provided he was “tolerant’’ in his approach to religions.

“There is a general perception that he (Modi) is not a tolerant person. I never had a chance to know him personally,” Catholicos Baselios MarThoma Poulose II had said.

“But members of our community in Gujarat say he has taken a very helpful stand in (relation to) their businesses, enabling them to pursue their trade without being caught in any red tape.”

Political observers have often expressed bafflement why the BJP has never won a single Assembly or Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, where the Rashtriya Swayamesevak Sangh has more shakhas than in any other state.

The BJP, however, has stepped up its efforts ahead of this year’s general election, trying to ride the so-called “Modi wave” to break the jinx. The party has been in touch with various Church factions that are disappointed with the state’s Congress-led United Democratic Front government.

The Orthodox and Jacobite sects have been at loggerheads for many decades over the administrative rights of certain Churches.